TG20: A Day of Light Shines Beyond the Solstice
Teasing Gravity 2020 Spotlight: Hanna Kiel's A Day of Light
Originally commissioned for CCDT's 2018 production of WinterSong - dances for a scared season, A Day of Light is an 18-minute ensemble work celebrating the winter solstice, choreographed by Hanna Kiel. Collaborating with the dancers during the creation process, Hanna brought to life a tight-knit community gathering at a joyous festival on winter's first lengthening day of sunlight. Also commissioned for the creation were acclaimed musicians Greg Harrison and Frances Miller, who drew upon personal experiences and memories to compose the work's original score.
Despite its solstice inspirations, A Day of Light has transcended the winter season and connected with an array of audiences across Ontario, at all times of the year. We gathered short reflections on the piece, sharing views from within, without, before, and after this dance's creation and performance from the fall of 2018 to spring 2020.
I really loved how Hanna collaborated with the dancers. Rather than simply giving us choreography to learn, Hanna gave us tasks and we created our own phrases, which were then modified and put into the piece. Dancing and performing this piece as a whole company feels so amazing. Everyone in the company is a part of this loving, supportive family, so smiling and connecting with everyone on stage makes me so happy.
-Nikkie Jeong, Dancer
A Day of Light was an opportunity for me to connect with my East Coast roots. This is one of the more playful pieces I have written, which navigates the worlds of electronic music and the traditional Celtic/fiddle music I grew up with. It was a real pleasure to be able to collaborate with Frances Miller, and explore these pieces with her voice and lyrics.
-Greg Harrison, Composer
In a weekend of dance presentations (Ontario DanceWeekend'19), [A Day of Light] stood out as being filled with so much joy, light and beautiful movement that we loved it from start to finish.
-Patti Kinghorn, Dance Coordinator, THEOP (Deep River, ON)
My favourite part about A Day of Light has to be the partnering and connections I venture through as the piece unfolds, there’s something heartwarming about them that enhances the dance for me. As I connect with each of the other dancers I begin to smile and feel happy and ecstatic, and I’m certain those are the moments when the audience enjoys watching and becomes curious about where the piece will head next.
-Jeffrey Lapira, Dancer
Working alongside Hanna and Greg on A Day of Light was a really wonderful experience. I wrote the opening a cappella song after the sudden loss of a family member. The lyrics focus on the idea of collective grief and on different touchstones we might use to stay connected to the body through trauma, including the natural rhythm of the breath and the sunrise of a new day. Watching the piece come to life in such a stunning and life-affirming way in the hands of Hanna and the incredible dancers of the CCDT was a beautiful experience that I won't soon forget.
The dancers at CCDT are some of the most hard working professional dancers I know. It's always inspiring to be in the studio with these young, open, and highly dedicated dancers. Especially with my process I need dancers who can collaborate in the choreography, and their openness and generosity always helps my vision come alive.
Thinking of the winter solstice, I was inspired to celebrate the arrival of the first lengthening day. Though it goes by so quickly, it is like our innocent time and we cherish those moments in the sun forever.
-Hanna Kiel, Choreographer
WATCH: A Day of Light Trailer Video
A Dora Award-winning and highly sought after choreographer, Hanna Kiel is the founder and Artistic Director of Human Body Expression. To learn more about Hanna and her work, visit:
Get to know more about Greg Harrison and Frances Miller, and their ongoing musical endeavours at:
Meet the artists and discover more about Teasing Gravity 2020 here.
Performance Photos by David Hou (2019)
A Day of Light 2019/20 cast dancers: Claire Finlayson, Paris Forbes, Lola Rose Jenkins, Nikkie Jeong, Jeffrey Lapira, Kaiya Lee, Soraya Lee Wo, Jaedyn Richards, Uma Roberts, Sydney Runions, Daniel Santokie, and Melodie Yeung
Costumes by Krista Dowson
Lighting Design by Arun Srinivasan